Freo's View


Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on January 11, 2021

In a week today on January 18 the historic Fremantle Roundhouse on Arthur’s Head will be celebrating its 190th anniversary. Mayor Brad Pettitt will fire the cannon at 1pm.

The first jail was designed by Henry Reveley and was based on a panopticum. It was a jail until 1886 and then became a police lockup till 1900.

The oldest public building in Western Australia has a dark history. Fifteen-year-old John Gavin was hanged in front of the Roundhouse for allegedly having murdered the son of the farmer he worked for and many of the Aboriginal males who were sent to the terrible Quod prison on Rottnest Island spent time at the Roundhouse before being transported to the island.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides have been opening the old gaol for over two decades and the Roundhouse has become a very popular tourist attraction where each day at 1pm the cannon gets fired and the time ball lowered.

The Roundhouse has been used for concerts, art exhibitions, theatre plays, movie productions, heritage festival events, weddings, private functions, Save Ningaloo fundraiser, etc.

The heritage-listed building is very important to WA’s history but does not get the State Government attention it deserves and Fremantle Council does not have the money to look after it.

The Roundhouse volunteers have done all the hard work to install all new interpretive displays, that will also finally have a significant Aboriginal content, but the around $ 100,000 needed to make and install the displays has still not been pledged by the McGowan government.

If the Roundhouse were in Rockingham or Mandurah getting government money would not be a problem, so it is time for the Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk to give the Premier and Heritage Minister David Templeman a spray and insist that as part of the Labor election campaign the new displays will be funded this year!

I did nine years of volunteering at the Roundhouse and loved talking to people from all over the world. If you have not visited it, do it! It is open from 10.30am to 3.30pm every day of the week.

Roel Loopers

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Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on December 17, 2020

The noise walls that will be put up at the Fremantle High Street Upgrade project will have artwork on them that are closely connected with Fremantle’s art history.

As part of the High Street Upgrade, 1.5km of noise walls will be constructed in accordance with the environmental conditions set by the Environmental Protection Authority. While the walls are designed primarily to mitigate noise, they also present a unique opportunity to shape the High Street and Stirling Highway gateway to Fremantle, and enhance the aesthetic of the road network.

Sicilian immigrants Guiseppe and Anna Scolaro opened the Universal Terrazzo Tile Factory in 1950, just a year after settling in Fremantle. The factory was located on Blinco Street.

During this time, the family produced a distinctive tile design, merging organic properties of materials from local quarries – stone, coloured pigment and cement, with excellent craftsmanship. The family used a distinctive style of repeated geometries to create continuity and diversity.

The Scolaro tile designs are known to feature in dozens of homes throughout the Fremantle area, however their designs remain a largely undocumented Fremantle story.

Penny Bovell, a long-time Fremantle artist, was selected as the public artist for the High Street Upgrade project. Penny has previously studied The Universal Tile Factory’s work and offered up a concept for the project’s integrated artwork based on the local tile designs. This concept will be showcased on various structures throughout the project, including the new noise walls between Carrington Street and Forrest Street and the amenity walls between the northern side of Forrest Street and Marmion Street.

While the Terrazzo theme will feature on the underpass portals, local Noongar artists will design and paint the interior of both the Montreal Street and Forrest Street underpasses.

Roel Loopers



Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on December 17, 2020

Unveiling of War Memorial in North Fremantle
Very quiet Queen Victoria Street

The WA State Library posted another series of wonderful historic photos on Facebook. I selected these three from North Fremantle.

It makes me wonder though how and how many digital photos our institutions preserve for posterity nowadays and the quality of them. The vast majority of digital images shared on social media is relatively low resolution and what are the sources the state libraries use to access images that will be very important in the future?

For example, no one in Fremantle so far has shown an interest in preserving this Freo’s View blog with its daily reports and photos of the port city . Once I stop paying WordPress this blog will disappear and no one will have access to the images and articles, although it has become a kind of digital time capsule of what happened in Fremantle over the last decade.

Roel Loopers


Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on December 15, 2020

Stirling Highway looking south
High Street looking east

I walked over to have a look at the progress of the Fremantle High Street Project that will create a large roundabout at the Stirling Highway intersection, but I should have taken my car as it was hard to get access to different locations on foot. I’ll do another trip by car next week and get more photos from different angles.

Roel Loopers



Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2020

Local contractor Advanteering Civil Engineers has been awarded a $2 million contract to build a new wharf at the WA Water Police base in North Fremantle.

The new structure will offer a contemporary design, with the capacity to berth larger vessels to suit the WA Police Force’s fleet.

This infrastructure will strengthen the WA Police Force’s capability to respond to critical marine incidents including search and rescue operations. 

The work has been funded as part of the McGowan Government’s WA Recovery Plan which includes $96.5 million to upgrade police facilities across the State.

Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2021 and importantly, will create nine local jobs.



Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2020

The massive development plans at Fremantle’s Burt Street by the Communities Department are always going to be controversial with some residents fearing a loss of privacy, views, parking, traffic and social issues, etc.

Having a first look at the plans at the Fremantle Arts Centre this afternoon I was impressed and thought this could become one of the most remarkable residential developments in our city. What stands out for me is that 52% of the development site area would become community open space. That would be amazing!

Yes, it is huge with 265 residential dwellings, only about 10% of them social housing, but also substantial affordable housing, working artists’ studios, live spaces, workshops, gallery and an Arts Plaza.

Those who have parking concerns should be relieved to know that the Fremantle Council requirement of 285 car bays will be well met with the proposed 400 parking bays. There will also be a detailed transport impact assessment conducted to see where traffic issues might arise and how they can be resolved.

Of course it is hard to make a final judgement until we have seen detailed architectural plans. But I have a lot of confidence in highly-respected David Hillam Architects. On a personal note-when I still was a commercial photographer I did quite a bit of photography for Hillam twenty years ago, who was then an up and coming architect. He even designed the purpose built gallery, dealing room and residential ARTPLACE gallery in Church Street, Northbridge for my former partner Brigitte Braun.

Urban infill is a reality we need to learn to embrace more, because the urban sprawl is not sustainable. There is no doubt the development will have some impact on some residents. Their views to the port and their privacy might be compromised, but multi-storey residential development is essential in urban settings close to transport and amenities. It’s only a leisurely twenty-minute walk to Kings Square from the proposed development.

Roel Loopers


Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on December 4, 2020

WA Government grants will be available to owners of heritage properties. The program offers dollar-for-dollar funding in grants of up to $40,000 for urgent conservation works to help private owners with their care of State Registered Heritage Places. A new grants stream will also offer up to $20,000 for community events, activities and heritage interpretation that aims to help businesses, not-for-profit organisations and local governments share the stories behind our valuable heritage places.

There are 271 State Heritage Places in the City of Fremantle. In 2018/19 three buildings in Fremantle’s West End Heritage Area received grant funding, including the Former Oceanic Hotel (Rivendel Residential Units), PS Art Studio and Gallery and the Dalgety & Co/Elder building.

The application closing date is 12 February 2021 and the works must be completed in the 2021/22 financial year. More information on the program and how to apply can be found on the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website:

Roel Loopers



Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on November 26, 2020

What a bloody awful mess Pipes for Fremantle is leaving behind in Fremantle!

The contractors for the Water Corporation who are reinstalling the road and footpaths don’t care about matching the colours of the bitumen and pavers, or the mix of bitumen, so it looks like awful, unprofessional and unacceptable patchwork that makes our city look extremely untidy.

Does anyone at Water Corp do quality control at all and check that their contractors are doing a proper job, or do they simply not care and make it a Fremantle Council problem?

It is not good enough and the City of Fremantle needs to kick some arse and get the job done professionally. It’s a mess, Pipes for Fremantle!

High Street in the West End will be totally resurfaced early in the new year.

Roel Loopers


Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2020

A draft masterplan laying out the collective vision for the Heart of Beaconsfield has been endorsed by Fremantle Council.

The Heart of Beaconsfield project is being led by the City of Fremantle in cooperation with the Department of Communities and other partners to coordinate the redevelopment of the area around the Davis Park precinct, Lefroy Road quarry and the former South Metropolitan TAFE site.  

The council’s Strategic Planning and Transport Committee endorsed a revised draft of the Heart of Beaconsfield masterplan for the purposes of community consultation on Wednesday evening.

Over the past few years there has been a lot of consultation with state government agencies, landowners and the local community to understand what people considered important and what their future vision was for where they lived.

The masterplan includes the expansion of public open space, better pedestrian and bike connections through the area through strategic green links, the retention of important community facilities and a more diverse housing mix.

The Heart of Beaconsfield masterplan covers a 48 hectare area stretching from South Street to Clontarf Road.

Key features include the retention of Bruce Lee Oval and the future development of a new oval on the Lefroy Road quarry, a new green link connecting South Street to Lefroy Road and Clontarf Road, and the retention of community facilities including Fremantle College, child care centres and Activ disability support services. 

The plan accommodates the Department of Communities proposal for a redeveloped residential and retail precinct at Davis Park, redevelopment of the TAFE site and medium density residential development on surplus land adjoining Brue Lee Oval.

Community consultation on the Heart of Beaconsfield masterplan will start in January next year.

To view the draft master plan click here.



Posted in Uncategorized by freoview on November 16, 2020

Urban Fremantle activists have pirated the This Is Fremantle sign at the entrance to the port city and covered it with a sign stating that the Freo community wants the new traffic bridge built west of the current one, not east of it as Main Roads insists on.

Roel Loopers

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